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Apple out of NAB... What say you, Ron?

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Mark Raudonis
Apple out of NAB... What say you, Ron?
on Feb 8, 2008 at 5:40:44 am

When the news of Avid abandoning NAB came out, you Ron were one of the few "calming" voices on the topic, arguing that it really made business sense for them to do it.

Now that Apple has done the same thing... I'm curious, what say you?

Mark



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Apple out of NAB... What say you, Ron?
on Feb 8, 2008 at 6:00:02 am

Hello Mark,

I have been expecting this for months now and Tim Wilson and I have been talking about this since probably last October sometime.

When Avid announced that they were pulling out, I suspected that Apple would be next -- but not if they could get the booth for nothing. I tend to believe that was the whole point of the distance between Apple asking NAB to pull down their name from the Expo exhibitors list and this announcement today (months later) that Apple is officially out. In my opinion I think Apple marketing put the squeeze on NAB management and NAB wouldn't give them the deal they wanted.

So exit Apple.

I think Apple did the math and realized that they could not really prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they sold even near enough *new* business from NAB to justify the costs.

And NAB costs are HUGE. It would take a LOT of boxes to pay that freight and when calculating not just cash flow dollars but paying this kind of expense with the net profit from these sales, the number of boxes skyrockets off the board.

Yes, Apple and others understand the value of hand-holding with their customers, but they also see what it costs when shows like NAB just keep raising the costs and the hotels in Vegas just raise their rates through the roof when NAB comes to town.

In the end, I said it long ago when it was Avid -- that Avid was just the first of many that would figure this out -- and now we see Number Two.

Expect many more.

Bessie says that there are enough udders on display in Las Vegas without her showing up and giving a view of hers. So, as we said when Avid made their announcement, we won't be there.

A week of burning out in Vegas and coming home and collapsing afterwards seems a waste to us at this point in time.

Like both Avid and Apple, we think that we'll likely in the days ahead take the COW to some local events and film festivals, road shows and other kinds of things. But spending the kinds of dollars needed to do NAB just seems a huge expense that isn't necessary anymore.

We expect to see NAB 2009 in fewer buildings than customary and in the years ahead, we expect to see it in a single building.

That's the view from here. What do you see in Los Angeles, Mark?

Best regards,


Ron Lindeboom
http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronlindeboom
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine
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Now in the COW Magazine: Commercials. A look at the history, strategy, techniques and production workflows of successful commercials. All brought to you by some of the COW's brightest members. Accept no substitutes!

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Steve Wargo
Re: Apple out of NAB... What say you, Ron?
on Feb 8, 2008 at 8:02:40 am

Ron

What was the purpose of having a COW booth at NAB? I had wondered about that in the past but how about a word from the Moo Master?

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1.


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walter biscardi
Re: Apple out of NAB... What say you, Ron?
on Feb 8, 2008 at 10:43:24 am

[Steve Wargo] "What was the purpose of having a COW booth at NAB?"

Well I'm not Ron, but I can tell you the main purpose is just like everyone else. Exposure and selling the product. I worked in the booth for a day last year and met dozens of people who had no idea what the Creative COW was. Shocking I know, but there are a lot of people out there in the creative world who simply don't know about this resource. The booth was a nice way to get the Cow's name out there, introduce the service to folks who did not know about it, and was a central gathering space where Cow leaders could make appearances and actually meet some of you folks. I REALLY enjoyed it and was hoping Ron and Kathlyn could have another booth this year.

I fully understand their decision to skip the show and put their resources into the website, magazine and other avenues as their return on investment probably is not worth the money spent on that show.

But for Apple and Avid, for whom millions of dollars are spent by the production community, to pull out of the one show where the production community gets the opportunity to meet and see the products is very disappointing.

My blog has a lot more of my thoughts and observations. Feel free to read and post your comments there too.

http://blogs.creativecow.net/node/421

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR
The new Color Training DVD now available from the Creative Cow!

Read my Blog!


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Apple out of NAB... What say you, Ron?
on Feb 8, 2008 at 9:05:19 am

Ron,

Interesting POV.

I've always felt that the "personal touch", be it in tech support or individual marketing always carries more weight than a big glitzy display. Having said that, I once read that advertising is as much about selling to new customers as it is about reassuring your existing customers that they've made the right choice.

So, even though I made my choice years ago, it's reassuring to go to NAB and see the big flashy booth with hundreds of people clamoring about. Of course, if no one is clamoring over the competition, I guess it's a moot point.

Here in Los Angeles I may have more access to Apple resources than someone in say, Bismarck, North Dakota. Therefore, the fact that Apple is passing on NAB this year is really a "non-event" for me.

I think the bottom line here is that people don't like change. Even though change is inevitable, it scares them. What we're witnessing here is a major change in the way that trade shows do business. I agree with you that we probably haven't seen the end of the NAB defections.

I'm still going to NAB this year, but as always, for me it's as much about the people as the products. As you've correctly pointed out, web resources like the Cow and other sites have gone a long way towards making the availability of information easier. But, if you hadn't had a booth at NAB I would never have met you. There are many people who live in other countries that I would never have met if not for NAB. So, perhaps the focus of the conference should move towards more "people oriented" than product oriented.

These are interesting times.

Mark



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Tim Kolb
Re: Apple out of NAB... What say you, Ron?
on Feb 8, 2008 at 1:43:10 pm

It's an interesting move.

With Avid, I think beyond the official reasoning, there is an obvious financial problem there. Ask the hundred+ ex-Avid employees laid off in the last year...

For Apple...I dunno. Apple does not market like everyone else. I think Apple really benefits from large gatherings of the faithful reaffirming each other and making some sort of personal connection with Apple staff and insiders.

You can't have a tent revival without a tent.

If I were Apple, I might have taken advantage of Avid's absence. Now Adobe is the only 'A' left.

I'm still scratching my head quite honestly.




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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walter biscardi
Re: Apple out of NAB... What say you, Ron?
on Feb 8, 2008 at 1:46:17 pm

[Tim Kolb] "Now Adobe is the only 'A' left."

Well actually Autodesk is still on the show floor at the moment.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR
The new Color Training DVD now available from the Creative Cow!

Read my Blog!


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Apple out of NAB... What say you, Ron?
on Feb 8, 2008 at 2:37:02 pm

[Tim Kolb] "With Avid, I think beyond the official reasoning, there is an obvious financial problem there. Ask the hundred+ ex-Avid employees laid off in the last year..."

I can't think of a single company in this industry of whom the same thing couldn't be said. I get letters almost daily from associates and friends from most all the companies in this industry that write me and ask if I know anywhere that they might find an opportunity.

Apple is no exception in this category.

I think that sheer numbers have come to haunt NAB and those numbers are the profits that it takes to have and man a booth at NAB. I think that with the democratization of video came the "commoditication" of video. When systems and tools are commodity items, the profits and costs are low. It takes an astronomical number of units to bear the cost of NAB.

Another of the "A" companies that I know who is not an editing software company but has a rather substantial booth at NAB every year, once told me that they spend nearly $400,000 to be at NAB. Considering that they sell their products for about $499 a whack, they'd have to sell one hell of a lot of product to make that nut.

As the experiential level of user drops every year, (trust me, it has, as both Kathlyn and I have had many a conversation with people at NAB who ask "What's digital video?"), NAB is becoming increasingly irrelevant when considered en masse.

As for tent revivals, who needs tents in the days of "24 hour a day television evangelists"? So gone are the tents (with rare exception).

The net is also 24 hour a day and I can't count the number of people over the years who have come in from one brand of editing system and made a decision to switch to another based on what they learned online. I even see heavy decisions being made here as to which networking software people will use and how to configure and support their network. It happens all the time.

The argument that this stuff requires hands-on facetime is simply becoming increasingly irrelevant in the Day of the Internet -- which itself is like a fulltime 24 hour a day tent revival.

Me, I think that NAB made a huge mistake by not giving into what I suspect were Apple's pointed requests for (shall we say?) heavily discounted floor space at the NAB Expo.

Why?

No company I can think of has the ability to pull easily 30,000 or more people to the show directly on nothing more than that the company is there.

By letting Apple escape because they probably wanted the same kind of deal that they get at Macworld Expo (which I won't tell you what they pay but let's just say that it costs you and I more to get there), NAB set in motion a chain of events that is sure to reverberate with serious repercussions in the days ahead.

As I said elsewhere on this subject, I expect to see NAB down to a single building in the next few years.

When Avid did what they did, people surmised incorrectly that there could be little more than financial troubles at the heart of Avid's decision. By letting Apple take the next turn, NAB itself has promulgated a set of events wherein many companies are going to take out their own pencils and scratch out the real costs and returns from the NAB event, and figure out that they too can stay home.

The bloodletting has just begun and when it's done, NAB is going to bear a lot more resemblance to what it started as: an event wherein those who need serious broadcast uplink and switching gear show up to strike deals for their station.

I can remember when the Sands was the oddball part of NAB and was the "multimedia" showcase area and was not really considered a real part of NAB by the broadcast contingent. I can remember back then that often Apple and many others didn't attend. Now people make it out that Apple and others must attend or they are not real.

Philosophers and others have argued "what is real" for eons and I doubt that NAB is going to resolve the age-old question.

But one thing's for sure: NAB has seen its better days and its glory days are well behind it.

As I have for years asked some of the company heads and others that I know: "How many people on the floor at NAB do you really surprise with anything you are showing and how many do you really teach anything new?" They almost always answer that most people already know exactly what they want and are there to learn a few finer points. But the buying decision has already largely been made.

Me, I believe that as long as the accountants will write checks to send company representatives to NAB to "research" new gear and other purchases, there will always be company reps willing to go and suffer attending Las Vegas floor shows and casinos while picking up a few brochures of products they already know about and then report that: "Yep, I found what we should be getting and here is my research..." (Insert sound of dropping pamphlets here.)

It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Best regards,


Ron Lindeboom
http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronlindeboom
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine
Join the COW's LinkedIn Group

Now in the COW Magazine: Commercials. A look at the history, strategy, techniques and production workflows of successful commercials. All brought to you by some of the COW's brightest members. Accept no substitutes!

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Tim Wilson
Apple is dead. Bankrupt. Out of touch. Getting out. Lying.
on Feb 8, 2008 at 3:22:53 pm

Not picking on you, TK, but you've laid out the only issues I think are worth exploring.

An interesting discussion for another thread (please, on another thread), I'm going to disagree that layoffs at Avid are bad news -- they need to do more, for the same reason that some people (not your or Walter) need to lose weight, for the same benefits: longevity, mobility, health...and good looks.

Leaving out money then, Apple is out of touch with its customers, getting out of post, and lying about its reasons for not having a booth. That's what everyone said about Avid.

Let's add that Apple is squirrelly. Avid made their announcement in the cold light of day, to every news outlet on the planet. Apple didn't make an announcement. They snuck a sentence into the industry's least significant, smallest circ mag.

BTW, Avid's VP and GM showed up in the Cow to take heat. Let me know when Apple shows up here. I'll bake a bundt cake. We'll have ice cream.

Even though Apple's not going to show up here, the only reason to scratch one's head and try to figure out what Apple REALLY means is that you think they're lying...and dead and out of touch and leaving post.

Or you can believe that both have nothing to gain by having a booth. Read Apple's lips, just as Apple read Avid's:

En. Ay. Bee. Is. A. Waste. Of. Time. And. Money.

Tim Wilson, Creative Cow
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Mark Suszko
Re: Apple is dead. Bankrupt. Out of touch. Getting out. Lying.
on Feb 8, 2008 at 4:56:18 pm

Apple knows it can be one (albeit large) player in an expensive crowd at NAB or be the entire raison d'etre' of Macworld. That's a big difference. Apple has between two and four huge shows every year that are all just about Apple and anything that runs on or leverages off Apple. Not to mention CES.

Apple is not a broadcast Tv equipment company. Its a computer hardware and software company, a decidedly consumer-oriented computer company, that happens to sell some kick-ass software and hardware that's also popular with broadcast Tv production people. But that is not their main line of business. That's where Apple is different from Avid, in that only Tv people buy Avids, you don't buy an Avid to run games or spreadsheets or all the other consumner things. People don't line up at the Avid Store to buy Avipods or aviphones.

Also I think the tanked economy plays no small role in the decision.

I also think that as far as video production goes, Apple's biggest competitors by sheer size are Avid and Adobe. If Avid drops away, maybe Apple feels it can relax a bit with regards to Adobe. At any rate, Apple is making huge money planetwide with their consumer products and besides FCP, what would they be selling at NAB?

I think Avid made a decision because they had to. Apple made it because it chose to. That's a big difference.



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George Socka
Re: Apple is dead. Bankrupt. Out of touch. Getting out. Lying.
on Feb 9, 2008 at 2:49:01 am

With Premiere again running on Macs, there is less point in pushing FCP. Sure each additional sale of FCP is almost 100% incremental gross profit, but if that were such a good thing, they would let it run on a vanilla PC - and sell boat loads more. No, Apple is about pushing Apple boxes. Not sure what percent of Macs are bought just for FCP and how many came out of that show alone, ( big iron, high profit Macs to be sure ) but I would guess, subject to a bit more research, not THAT many.

Might this be the beginning of the end of the line for FCP all together?

George Socka
BeachDigital
http://www.beachdigital.com


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walter biscardi
Re: Apple is dead. Bankrupt. Out of touch. Getting out. Lying.
on Feb 9, 2008 at 3:21:14 am

[George Socka] "Might this be the beginning of the end of the line for FCP all together?"

I don't think it's the end of FCP, but certainly could be the end of Apple's ownership of the product. I would like to see someone purchase it and take the entire package cross-platform. I think that would improve the product and potentially make the user base that much larger.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR
The new Color Training DVD now available from the Creative Cow!

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Mark Suszko
Re: Apple is dead. Bankrupt. Out of touch. Getting out. Lying.
on Feb 9, 2008 at 4:08:01 am

I think writing off FCP is way premature, it's value to Apple in terms of publicity and prestige helps them sell the boxes to consumers. "Own the same powerful software Hollywood studios use!"

Shake may be another story, there are rumblings for some time now that Apple hasn't put much into further development of it, and nobody buys an Apple just to run Shake. Adobe has such a clamp on the compositor market, I worry because we own Combustion instead of AE and Autodiscreet has not exactly been blazing with updates or announcements past the addition of the color warping tool.

Also, Motion keeps getting more and more capable, so Apple may be looking to thin the herd there a little bit, but FCP is a flagship software product that absolutely sells macs, so I think that's likely to stay strong for some time yet.


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Steve Wargo
Re: Apple is dead. Bankrupt. Out of touch. Getting out. Lying.
on Feb 9, 2008 at 5:21:45 am

[George Socka] "Might this be the beginning of the end of the line for FCP all together?"

We were a Discreet house for many years. When it went away, we had to make a decision. Having seen AVid put the screws to their customers, we looked at FCp. We chose FCp because it was reasonably priced and everything came from one company. I can hire an FCp editor at any time. None of our decisions were based on a demo but rather on how wide spread the systems were in use. The quality was good and the workflow seemed reasonable. However, I may never call it Final Cut PRO. It lacks too many functions that were in D-Vision 3.5 over 10 years ago.

I guess what I'm saying is that we chose FCp because it is deeply embedded in the industry and that we can find qualified operators at every turn.

NAB has been a good place to go see what the latest upgrade is but that is only because some things are held back until they are released at the Big Show. Apple is better served by bringing the improvements to market sooner. Putting the word out on the Internet is the way it's done now and the users can convince the rest of the world. As successful as Apple is, why should they spend NAB money when it doesn't bleed black ink. America is wising up and starting to watch the bottom line a bit closer. It's just good business.



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1.


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Tim Kolb
Re: Apple is dead. Bankrupt. Out of touch. Getting out. Lying.
on Feb 8, 2008 at 6:19:48 pm

[Tim Wilson] "
Even though Apple's not going to show up here, the only reason to scratch one's head and try to figure out what Apple REALLY means is that you think they're lying...and dead and out of touch and leaving post."


Well...scratching my head means I'm wondering what the strategy is...those words are of Wilson, not of Kolb...

Apple is definitely a consumer products company on the balance sheet, I would agree. But the pro production market is one of value, and I think for Apple, one of pride if they choose to maintain the angle that a Mac is the computer for the creative... It's a market that does take more contact than the consumer market to maintain.


I would agree that Avid's best chance for forging ahead is downsizing, but Avid's consumer products produce much smaller margins per sale, granted that there are exponentially more of them. Pro video users are a bit fickle as we see here on the Cow all the time. I hope that Avid has a kickin' butt alternative plan to maintain and build its pro user community if it intends to stay in.


Apple...well OK. NAB is useless. They are consistently the busiest booth it seems. Maybe they think they've saturated the market? I don't really believe that there are economic factors that are dictating this...I'm sure Apple could pay the bill.

However, I completely buy Ron's point about paying the freight to be at NAB out of profits on smaller and smaller ticket items, but one pays for NAB booths through the course of the year so apparently Apple is abandoning a fair chunk of change that I suspect won't be refunded this late in the game. Apparently whatever that loss is seems better than the cost of attending and hauling in, setting up, and staffing a booth. That's certainly plausible. It just doesn't seem like a choice this late in the cycle. A choice would be saying something in July/August before you reserve space and exist on the hall map I would think.

There are lots of interesting points that can be made and I'm not really arguing against any of them. It just doesn't parse for me for some reason. I can't help but think there is a significant unknown somewhere...

Or...maybe I'm simply not bright enough to 'get it'.

It really doesn't matter what I think anyway, so it is whatever it is...






TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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Bill Paris
Re: Apple is dead. Bankrupt. Out of touch. Getting out. Lying.
on Feb 9, 2008 at 5:05:20 am

Perhaps Apple believes it can add a broadcast component to Mac World.... invite the vendors it partners with and save money by consolidating it's effort into one show? At this point they've penetrated the broadcast/production market enough, they may feel they don't need NAB to be a post production force moving forward?

Personally I'm dissapointed they're not going to be at the show, since they always seem to have something new to offer and I always learn something from the guys on the floor. I guess I'll have to go to Mac World now..... that's not all bad considering the it's not held in Las Vegas.





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Tim Kolb
Re: Apple is dead. Bankrupt. Out of touch. Getting out. Lying.
on Feb 9, 2008 at 5:21:41 am

[Bill Paris] "I guess I'll have to go to Mac World now..... that's not all bad considering the it's not held in Las Vegas."

...yeah, I hear that.



TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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Mick Haensler
Re: Apple is dead. Bankrupt. Out of touch. Getting out. Lying.
on Feb 9, 2008 at 1:17:30 pm

A few years ago Digital Juice made the anouncement not to attend NAB. Instead, the entire week of NAB, they would be offering insane deals on a large swath of their products exclusively on their web site. People flocked to their site and in one week they put themselves at the top of the heap for stock footage, graphics, etc. It was a bold move that turned out to be highly successful. I think what DJ realized is, most people in the industry don't attend NAB. Most people in the industry are small operations that simply can't afford to take the time away from making money to attend. They don't care about a fancy booth that will in the long run only cost them in the price they pay for the companies products. They just want the tools that help them make money at a reasonable price.

IMHO, this industry is simply going the way the pro audio industry went a few years back. Large post houses are not doing well, they have been supplanted by smaller, leaner operations like myself. I was on the receiving end of this with audio production and now I'm reaping the benefits in video production. My main competitor is a guy who is shooting full HDCAM and editing on a $75,000 Velocity system. He has a large fully equipped sound stage and a mobile truck. His main client is one of the largest poultry suppliers in the world. He handles alot of their corporate work but none of their broadcast work. Now there is nothing wrong with shooting corporate work with this kind of equipment, but it is overkill that costs the client. Fortunately for him the client has a huge ego that gets off on this sort of thing. Doubly fortunate for him I have no interest in persuing this client as I could give them a comparible product for much less. Interestingly, I just saw on this guys' web site that he is now doing legal depositions and event work. HHMMMMMM

Point is, the industry is changing and I believe Apple is simply adapting to that change. No need to make a big deal about it. They didn't get the deal they wanted at NAB and they're quietly moving on. I seriously doubt they are getting out of post what with new codec development, the acquisition of Color, new versatility with FCP Studio 2. As a recent convert to Mac, I made my decision to switch after months of research and talking to many people in the industry. The conclusion I came to was, Apple is and will be for some time to come, the platform of choice for a large group of creatives. IMHO of course.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media



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Timothy J. Allen
Re: Apple is not dead. Bankrupt. or Out of touch.
on Feb 9, 2008 at 6:04:39 pm

When Apple started attending NAB they absolutely needed to have a presence there - to establish credibility. In 1999 the argument wasn't how Apple was going to compete against Avid, it was "Does this Apple video editing program have the capability and stability that I need to stake my business on it?"

Having a booth at NAB during this past decade showed the broadcast industry that Apple was serious about development of Final Cut, and that they were aiming the product towards more than just hobbiest. From the beginning, they saw that going the software route would enable huge developmental strides from year to year - but they knew that as soon as they got the "Final Cut" technology from Macromedia, they needed to establish credibility with their target market.

They needed to get the product into professional Editor's minds as a viable option to the Avid's, Media 100's, and other "professional" systems that were leading at the time. At that time NAB was the mechanism to lend that credibility to the software product line. (While their hardware had decent credibility since most Avid's and Media 100s were running on Apple systems, Apple knew they were about to have a lag behind PC system speed for at least a few seasons, and having innovative software was a "flank" to the speed war with PCs.)

Flash forward a decade - Apple and Final Pro don't have that issue of credibility. NAB simply doesn't give them as much of what they need anymore. At this point, they had the same catch 22 that Avid did - if they didn't have a huge booth that rivaled their competitor at NAB, customer might worry that they didn't "care" about future development as much. With Avid pulling out, it didn't make any since for Apple to pour their money into fighting Adobe at the show. (I'd argue that Final Cut already has as much credibility as Adobe Premier.)

I think this is simply a business decision. I think that Apple weighed most of the concerns that have been expressed in this thread and decided that at this point in time, the risk was worth the reward.

Do you think NAB would give Avid and Apple discounted rates next year? They will if they want them back. Sometimes you just have to call a bluff. By not having booths at NAB this year, those two companies will absolutely have the data they need next year to see if it's worth going back. And I expect that if they do consider going back, it will be much closer to the terms that they want.

All told this decision doesn't reflect on the health of Avid or Apple as it does for the health of the NAB convention.




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Tim Wilson
The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 9, 2008 at 10:31:56 pm

[Timothy J. Allen] "All told this decision doesn't reflect on the health of Avid or Apple as it does for the health of the NAB convention."

This is what we've been saying for months. NAB is less and less relevant to ANYONE, and certainly to our end of the industry, not at all.

(The exception remains that it's a grand opportunity for face to face interaction with online pals. It also remains important for the heavy iron crowd who've been the bedrock of NAB the organization, rather than the expo.)

In fact, I threw up the "dead, bankrupt, lying" subject line to show the absurdity of any aspect of second-guessing either company. They've both been explicit, that they've backed out because NAB has nothing to offer them.

Timothy, you're right about Apple, they've done all that they need to do at NAB.

For Avid, their best customers don't go to NAB. In TV, they're preparing for sweeps (both news and advertising), as well as working actively on season-ending reality shows, final stages of posting summer series, and prepping (and in some cases already shooting) fall series. April is a crazy time to think about taking a break.

In movies, the summer blockbuster season begins May 1, and in earnest by Memorial Day. Taking a break in April is unthinkable.

These are just a few reasons why Avid's customers have been demanding for years that the news come to THEM -- they can't go see it, period. Not an option.

The bottom line for both: nothing to accomplish at NAB. No need to second-guess them to divine their motives. They've said that NAB isn't useful for them.

Maybe because I've been at it too long and grateful to get out, but I'm head-slappingly mystified that anyone can imagine ANYTHING but that they're skipping out for the reasons they say they are - variations on the theme that NAB has outlived its usefulness.

We here at the Cow couldn't agree more, which is why we've been saying it so loudly for so long.

As for A&A, I'll be shocked if either ever has a booth again.


Tim Wilson, Creative Cow
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Christopher Wright
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 11, 2008 at 3:58:48 am

Spoken like a true "roadshow" burnout. I can definitely say that the experience of attending NAB and the experience of "manning" a booth are quite different indeed! As someone who buys and uses film and video cameras, HD monitors, HD projectors, library music, all manner of production mics, lighting kits, lots of third party software, tripods etc. etc., there truly is no one place where one can go to get so much contact and information in so little time. I for one am glad both Avid and Apple won't be there with their accompanying fan-boy circuses. My favorite part of NAB is getting to see and meet many third part software folks that I actually can have meaningful one to one dialogue with while in Lost Wages.
As far as having to pay for and man a booth for the onslaught of humanity that shows up every year, no wonder Tim and Ron want to flee and never look back!

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 11, 2008 at 1:49:45 pm

[Christopher Wright] "I can definitely say that the experience of attending NAB and the experience of "manning" a booth are quite different indeed!"

I have done both. I find that both are actually quite a burn-out. Even when I would go to NAB just to wander the floors and check out what was there, I'd get home fried to a crisp and need days to recover. Staying up all hours and then driving oneself hard is not a way to spend a week. Especially while throwing a fairly large wad of cash at the situation.

One of the biggest and rarely considered costs of NAB is that it takes you away from your business for a week and then you usually have a few days to a week to ramp back up to normal.

All in all, NAB is not really geared for answering technical questions. An example would be Walter's recent problem with his CD/DVD record/printer. Sure you could check out the various units but I highly doubt that they'd give you the chance to really use one on the floor to the point that you would uncover some of the issues that he ran into in his own experience.

On the other hand, most VARs and dealers that I know take these kinds of issues very seriously and will pound on their manufacturers for solutions or they will drop the line.

For me, I use well known and trusted VARs and they tell me pretty straight which products are bull and which ones are real. Sure, they have their prejudices but in the end I nearly always get a real solution.

And this year I'll save an extra week (as well as the few 'ramp back up' follow-up days) and a lot of money that I can put towards it all...

Best regards,


Ron Lindeboom
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Tim Wilson
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 11, 2008 at 5:54:13 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "[Christopher Wright] "I can definitely say that the experience of attending NAB and the experience of "manning" a booth are quite different indeed!"

I have done both. I find that both are actually quite a burn-out.


There was a time when NAB was the only place to see everything important in one place. There was no internet, and there were no local dealers who carried enough of this stuff.

Both of those are simply not true anymore. Tradeshows don't show what's important, or what actually works outside a demo -- they demo new features, period. It's artificial and anti-informative.

I came to those opinions as a visitor. I became an exhibitor hoping to change that. Unfortunately, as a big tradeshow, the force of gravity is away from information and toward spectacle there more than anywhere else.

So my perspective is less one burnout than frustration. Tradeshows are a massive effort to provide the OPPOSITE of real-world information. This is why I left corporate life screaming, and came back to Bessie's warm embrace. THIS is where you get real information, NOT tradeshows.


"All in all, NAB is not really geared for answering technical questions."

The product managers you really want to speak to at NAB spend more time in meetings than they do in the booth.

However, they're here in the Cow, and very quick to answer questions. This not only applies to software, but to hardware, including cameras, as well.

But the most important technical questions -- will this work for ME -- can't possibly be answered at a show. You wouldn't believe me if I told you how few configurations and use cases most companies encounter...although if you think about it, you'll see why.

If you want to know if it works in PRACTICE, the Cow is the place. Any configuration questions you have that you can't get answered here, will get answered by a dealer, not at a tradeshow.

Even if the spirit is willing, the opportunity is weak.

Last word about opportunity. One very high profile Cow leader intentionally skips the show for one reason: he harvests new clients at a shocking rate. Clients come to him because their "regular" guy is at the show. They become THIS guy's regular clients now.

We suggest you skip NAB because we want you to get good information.

We suggest you skip NAB because we want you to get real-world information.

We suggest you skip NAB because we here at the Cow are committed to helping you make the most money possible.

We suggest you skip it because we love you. :-)

tw






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Christopher Wright
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 11, 2008 at 8:19:40 pm

There was a time when NAB was the only place to see everything important in one place.... and there were no local dealers who carried enough of this stuff.

Again there is still no substitute for NAB when shopping for lighting kits, tripods, wireless mics, HD monitors and even cameras all in one place. There are certain products you have to see and feel, tripods you have to actually try out with a camera mounted on them, dolly systems actually laid out to try, etc. For those of you who live in large markets, you can always spend your time at say B&H, or any other similar company which MIGHT have everything out and on display to do some real apples to apples comparisons, or driving to any of these companies separately and maybe getting a decent hands-on of an HD camera, but not be able to see a RED camera, Panasonic camera, Sony camera, Canon camera, Genesis camera, lens selections etc. all in the same afternoon. This especially goes for lighting kits and microphones. Reading specs online is one thing, actually seeing a unit and holding in your hand is another.

Again if you are talking editing and compositing software, you are correct in saying all you will get is the standard polished demo, thus the exodus by Apple and Avid actually makes me happy. A personal face to face is always better in these situations.

However, I have always enjoyed the demos that Adobe puts on for After FX and Flash, and as long as I have used these programs, I still always learn something new in the more advanced sessions they offer at the show.

Not only does "my local market" not have ANY dealers for ANY cameras or systems, pretty much the whole state has no certified Autodesk, Sony, Avid, ARRI etc., etc. dealer or representative of any kind! The closest places to visit VARS are Dallas, Denver, or Phoenix. Roadshows rarely if ever even stop in Albuquerque, and Vegas is only a quick, cheap flight (or drive)from here.

Also the Cow is really best at finding problems in software and hardware that even the manufacturers and coders don't know about. In essence we are the "ultimate beta testers" of any product used in production and post. You only get that information from actually using a product day in and day out. These are "after the sale" discoveries. You will never find out about those issues even if you do have a special session with just the manufacturer or software company. They will always gloss over any problems in order to sell you anyway.

I have never come back from NAB feeling "wasted" and needing "a few days or weeks to recover." I actually come back feeling energized and refreshed! Many of my friends use it as a break from the routine, and get a good luxury suite, see a few shows, and actually enjoy the nightlife and some very good gourmet restaurants while they are there. You don't have to spend every waking moment on the NAB show floor.

As far as "missing production time" or someone "stealing my clients" if I am going to be out of town for 4 days, I say your business must be in very bad straights, you have very flaky clients, and/or you need to get a life and reset your priorities!

I can say that I completely agree that I would never want to see NAB or Las Vegas again if I was stuck in a booth or having to "work clients" all day, every day ad nauseum, not to mention having to pay out the nose for the priviledge. I have done road shows and home shows in a past life and would never wish that fate on my worst enemy.

And of course the highlight of NAB is sharing a stiff martini with Bob Zelin at the Hard Rock.

So NAB 2008 anyone??

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 11, 2008 at 9:22:42 pm

Chris,

I never said nor implied that I am afraid to "miss production time" or that I couldn't afford to take a break from time to time. And Tim Wilson never said that every business is in danger of getting their clients swiped by a competitor in a few days if they take off. (But for some, they do lose customers and I have seen it happen.)

What I did say was that, for some -- your mileage may vary -- NAB eats up a week that can be more valuably spent on something else. If you are going to go and then spend little time at NAB but instead hit floorshows and restaurants and other activities as you say, then I think that shows that the real value of NAB is not really in NAB but the "excuse of NAB."

If you have the money to go to gourmet restaurants, floorshows and take so much time off from NAB, then (for me anyway) I can think of a lot better places to spend a week and the money than in Las Vegas -- arguably the most plastic city in the world.

But again, that's just my opinion.

Best regards,


Ron Lindeboom
http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronlindeboom
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine
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Tim Kolb
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 12, 2008 at 4:48:31 am

Certainly all worthy arguments...

There are certainly other ways to market and these two companies are exploring them...

It will be interesting to see how the competitors who stay in will fare as well in the coming period. Grass Valley has been taking seats away from Avid in the fast-turnaround news editing space nearly or equally as fast as FCP, and they will, of course, be there.

Apple's customer base...as much as the "fan boy" and "cult" remarks are used a bit too often...is based to some degree on association. I think FCP has more user groups than any software I've seen. mac users enjoy each other's company and I think that this has been a big factor in solidifying Apple's customer culture. I wonder if that will be maintainable with more 'distant', 'individual' approaches (the web, etc...)

Adobe is making progress in areas that many 'NLE war' aficionados aren't watching. Broadcast servers are starting to move into Flash format playout files...and even in the NLE space, Adobe has the upper hand in app integration at the moment, and they aren't sleeping. Walter Biscardi mentioned that he fears that there is no intensely anticipated improvement in 'Color's' implementation in FCS...the guys at RED will have to show us whether there is some new workflow items there... I think Apple may generate more sales when it announces these types of advancements at tradeshows than they are willing to admit. Goodness knows I spend inordinate amounts of my time talking to people about these various Apple happenings in the months after NAB...

I've worked NAB for the last 8 or 9 years and all I seem to do is have technical conversations with people and attempt (sometimes successfully) to solve their issues...I have to cut someone off to pee or eat a 15.00 hot dog (and those are two activities it serves one best to not get confused!). There is a lot of fluff at NAB...and every tradeshow. But in a world where I spend way too many days interacting on IM, email or web-based forums...I think talking to a person, in person still holds some weight.

Just how much weight will have to be determined during the next year I guess...





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Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
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Steve Wargo
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 13, 2008 at 6:15:19 am

[Tim Kolb] "mac users enjoy each other's company"

I have been laughing about this line for a half hour. And it's getting worse.

kind of like - "If no one else will have ya, there's always your equally weird brother."

Yes, I do belong to the Arizona FCP users group and it's exactly like that. Actually, I'll probably be kicked out tomorrow. Oh well, the Discreet group is still there for me.





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Tim Kolb
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 13, 2008 at 6:43:14 am

[Steve Wargo] "I have been laughing about this line for a half hour. And it's getting worse.

kind of like - "If no one else will have ya, there's always your equally weird brother.""


Sorry Steve...hopefully you weren't drinking milk when you read it...

I was trying to call it like i see it, but with constructive language...

:-)




TimK,
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Michael Horton
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 15, 2008 at 7:08:32 pm

[Tim Kolb] "Apple's customer base...as much as the "fan boy" and "cult" remarks are used a bit too often...is based to some degree on association. I think FCP has more user groups than any software I've seen. mac users enjoy each other's company and I think that this has been a big factor in solidifying Apple's customer culture. I wonder if that will be maintainable with more 'distant', 'individual' approaches (the web, etc...)
"


Well despite all this online drama about Apple pulling out of the Show floor, Apple will still be at NAB. I know several Apple folks who will be there the entire week. Apple is supporting our SuperMeet BIG TIME and will be there in force. http://www.lafcpug.org/nab_2008

I imagine Apple will be at other events or quite possibly hold some of their own. You simply just wont get that Big Booth in the South Hall to hang around. Not a deal killer for me.

I continue reading about all this disappointment about Apple pulling out of NAB. I read all this nonsense about how they could of really stuck it to Avid had they just stayed. Hey, let's dress the Apple employees working the booths with "We're Number One" T-shirts.

Look, NAB is expensive but only if you choose to make it expensive. Most of us with no money still go and we stay off the strip and Hotels there are cheap. Really cheap. Most have shuttles to the strip where you can get transportation to anywhere. You can do NAB comfortably cheap. You just have to choose to do it that way. It's just REALLY expensive for those companies who want a booth.

And you dont need Avid or Apple on the show floor to make or break your NAB experience. They will be there in some sort of fashion. You just have to find them assuming you need to find them. You know where Apple will be. They will be at the SuperMeet April 16 for some good ol' one on one face time. I don't know where Avid will be but I'm betting they will be easy to find.





Michael Horton
lafcpug
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Mark Nancetor
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 15, 2008 at 9:07:13 pm

     I have been to plenty of these kinds of things and usually after the event ends and the people break up to talk, the employees spend their time with people they already know. You can't talk while the show is on. When it's over, the cliques form and the important ones end up talking to each other. Those of us who are peons just stand there staring at each other.
     Back when Charles ran the Promax event he was the only one I found that didn't care who came up, he would talk to them. Thank you, Charles. We haven't forgotten you.
     One of the reasons I'm sorry that the COW won't have a booth this year is that I could always stop by and talk with Walter Biscardi, Jerry Hoffmann, Ron and Kathlyn Lindboom, Aharon Rabinowitz and others.
     Hunting down software company employees at a party isn't exactly the best way to get questions answered. But good luck with your show, I am sure it will be the biggest one yet.

Mark Nance


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walter biscardi
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 15, 2008 at 9:13:19 pm

[Mark Nance] " Back when Charles ran the Promax event he was the only one I found that didn't care who came up, he would talk to them. Thank you, Charles. We haven't forgotten you."

Amen to that.


[Mark Nance] " One of the reasons I'm sorry that the COW won't have a booth this year is that I could always stop by and talk with Walter Biscardi, Jerry Hoffmann, Ron and Kathlyn Lindboom, Aharon Rabinowitz and others."

Well, we have finalized our plans and I will be there at the show. Definitely in the Artbeats booth for demonstrations using FCP and/or Color, doing a demonstration or two on Colorista and most likely spending a lot of time in the AJA Booth.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
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Michael Horton
Re: The NAB Expo has outlived its usefulness. Discuss.
on Feb 15, 2008 at 9:27:43 pm

Mark

Then you've never been to a SuperMeet. There will be 30 vendors at the SuperMeet each behind a 6ft table just waiting for you to talk to them and ask questions. People like Walter and Jerry and others you know from the online world will probably be there too and they are if they just happen to be in the middle of some clique then simply become a part of it. These folks are the nicest people you will meet and are open to meeting others and solving problems. That is what these gatherings are all about. That is how we all met.

Its up to YOU to come up and talk to them Mark. There is zero room in this industry for wallflowers, meaning if you don't make the effort to talk, then yes, these gatherings are a waste of time for you.



Michael Horton
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